Sunday, 23 Jun, 2024


Israeli minister attacks Netanyahu over Gaza future

International Desk |
Update: 2024-05-16 09:45:03
Israeli minister attacks Netanyahu over Gaza future photo collected

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has voiced open frustration at the government’s failure to address the question of a post-war plan for Gaza.

In a rare public sign of divisions over the direction of the military campaign within Israel’s war cabinet, Mr Gallant urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to declare publicly that Israel has no plans to take over civilian and military rule in Gaza.

“Since October, I have been raising this issue consistently in the Cabinet,” he said, “and have received no response.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded harshly, saying he was "not ready to exchange Hamastan for Fatahstan," in reference to rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah.

Indecision, he warned, would leave only two bad options in Gaza: Hamas rule or Israeli military rule.

Either “would erode our military achievements, lessen the pressure on Hamas and sabotage chances of achieving a framework for the release of hostages,” Mr Gallant said.

Another member of the war cabinet, Benny Gantz - who has disagreed with Netanyahu in the past - agreed with the defence minister: "Gallant speaks the truth. It is the leadership's responsibility to do the right thing for the country at all costs."

Mr Gallant said that the defence establishment, over which he presides, had presented a war plan to the cabinet as early as the night when Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza began last October. He said the plans included proposals “to establish a local, non-hostile Palestinian governing alternative.”

The day after Hamas, he said, would “only be achieved by Palestinian entities taking control of Gaza, accompanied by international actors.”

He said these proposals were never debated, nor were any alternatives presented.

Mr Gallant said the failure to set out a plan was leading Israel towards a “dangerous course” involving Israeli military and civilian rule over Gaza.

He described that prospect as “a negative and dangerous option for the State of Israel strategically, militarily, and from a security standpoint.”

“I must reiterate: I will not agree to the establishment of Israeli military rule in Gaza. Israel must not establish civilian rule in Gaza.”

“I call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a decision and declare that Israel will not establish civilian control over the Gaza strip, that Israel will not establish military governance in the Gaza strip, and that a governing alternative to Hamas in the Gaza strip will be raised immediately.”

Israeli press reports have recently included suggestions that military leaders have grave misgivings about the lack of a viable plan for Gaza after the war ends. Mr Gallant’s comments this evening bring those misgivings out into the open in a politically explosive way.

On a visit to Ukraine on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Israel needed to produce a clear plan for Gaza's future.

"We can't have anarchy and a vacuum that's likely to be filled by chaos," Mr Blinken said.

Mr Netanyahu has previously insisted that discussions on the future governance of Gaza are just “empty talk” as long as Hamas remains in the territory.

Source: BBC

BDST: 0944 HRS, MAY 16, 2024

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